Katie came home from school yesterday and dropped a bombshell. She confessed to falsifying her behavior report from school.
Her class has a discipline procedure similar to other schools: the kids start the day on green and then advance to blue for their first infraction, then yellow and then red. Katie has been marking her days green when she has been getting on blue and yellow. She can’t remember how many times she’s done it this year, but says she was on blue at least five times and yellow at least three times.
Let me stop here to shine a little light on how God has changed me in the recent past. Just a short while ago, I would have gone ballistic and gotten pretty angry at Katie. Thankfully, God intervened yesterday and my heart was softened to understand the shame Katie felt in confessing, and the disappointment she already felt. Immediately, I knew I didn’t have to add much horror to the situation because she was contrite and apologetic and flat out ASHAMED. Thank you, God, for keeping your hand over my mouth AND for putting a conscience in my little girl’s body!
I’ve discussed the issue with Dan, my sister (who is a second grade teacher and can give me some real-world guidance), Katie’s teacher, and some close friends. (Oh, how I’d love to call Mom and Dad to get some advice!) Dan and I discussed appropriate consequences and gave the bad news to Katie tonight. She got tears in her eyes, but she seemed to understand the severity and repercussions of her lies. Her penance includes missing recess, a written and verbal apology to her teacher at tomorrow night’s parent-teacher conferences, a required signature on her future behavior reports, plus a fun little addition that’s a blend of my friend and sister’s advice: instead of taking away a privilege, we added a daily task to help her earn trust back. For the next eight days, she has to go out of her way to do something nice/kind/helpful/considerate to someone else THEN she has to write about it.
My friends who have older kids say this is just the beginning of the rocky road they faced with their daughters. They didn’t give me much hope. I guess it’s naive for me to think Katie might be different, but I’m going to believe that anyway. I believe in her ability to make good choices MOST of the time. And I believe in her desire to live honestly. Mostly, I believe that God is working in her heart just as much as He’s working in mine!